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Army Staff Sgt. Tyler E. Pickett

Died June 8, 2008 Serving During Operation Iraqi Freedom

28, of Saratoga, Wyo.; assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum, N.Y.; died June 8 of wounds sustained when his unit was attacked by enemy forces using improvised explosive devices.

Wyoming soldier killed in Iraq

The Associated Press

SARATOGA, Wyo. — A soldier from Saratoga who died in Iraq this weekend was remembered by his mother as a dedicated serviceman who looked forward one day to retiring to the Wyoming mountains.

The Department of Defense announced Wednesday that Staff Sgt. Tyler E. Pickett died Sunday in Kirkuk Province. He was killed by enemy forces using an improvised explosive device.

Pickett was assigned to the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, N.Y.

Pickett’s mother, Saratoga resident Sheri Peterson, said her 28-year-old son was killed in a suicide bombing that also injured 18 other people. Pickett was on his second tour in Iraq and had also served in Afghanistan.

Pickett is survived by his wife, Kristy, of Antwerp, N.Y., and her two children, Peterson said. The couple celebrated their second anniversary in February.

Pickett was born in Rice Lake, Wis., and moved to Saratoga, in south-central Wyoming, at the age of 14.

“When you move to a small town, sometimes it’s hard to acclimate,” Peterson said. “That didn’t happen here. He was friends with everyone. It didn’t matter where he was, he always touched someone’s life.”

Pickett graduated from Saratoga High School in 1999 and enlisted in the military about a year later, Peterson said. She said serving in the military was always a part of Pickett’s plan.

“He knew what he wanted long before most kids do,” she said.

Peterson said her son came from a family with a history of military service.

“My son’s job was to protect his country, and when you protect your country, you put your life on the line every day; just like a police officer does, just like a fireman does,” Peterson said.

Pickett’s survivors include his father, Ed Pickett, of Rice Lake, and other family members in Wyoming. Peterson said funeral services are planned in Saratoga, Antwerp, N.Y., and Minnesota.

Soldier killed in Iraq given hero’s funeral

The Associated Press

ANTWERP, N.Y. — Family and friends gathered at an upstate New York church for the funeral of a fallen soldier.

Staff Sgt. Tyler Pickett was killed June 8 in Iraq’s Kirkuk Province when his unit was attacked with an improvised explosive device.

Pickett’s commanders remembered him Wednesday during services at St. Michael’s Catholic Church as “not just a soldier. He was a leader of soldiers.”

Pickett was from Wyoming and lived in Antwerp for only a few years. But he was a well-known and well-liked member of the tight-knit community just outside the U.S. Army’s Fort Drum, the home of the 10th Mountain Division, in which Pickett served.

Pickett was supposed to be home on leave when he died, but his homecoming was delayed until June 30.

He is survived by his wife and two stepchildren.

Saratoga mourns fallen soldier

The Associated Press

SARATOGA, Wyo. — Mourners gathered in Saratoga on Monday to honor Staff Sgt. Tyler E. Pickett, a former Saratoga resident who was killed in action in Iraq earlier this month.

The 28-year-old was remembered as a dedicated soldier who made a big impression on the southern Wyoming town during his years there.

Pickett was killed in a suicide bombing on June 8 during his second tour in Iraq, the military said. He had also served in Afghanistan.

“Tyler died doing what he hired up to do and that’s the way he looked at it,” said Pickett’s grandfather, Jim Peterson, who traveled from Elysian, Minn.

Pickett was assigned to the Army’s 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, N.Y. He was buried at a formal military service in New York earlier this month.

Pickett, who most recently lived in Antwerp, N.Y. with his wife Kristy and her two children, planned to retire to Wyoming, Kristy Pickett said.

She said being a soldier was more than a career to her husband.

“It was something he was passionate about,” Kristy Pickett said in a story in Tuesday editions of the Rawlins Daily Times. “He made a choice to help people and he did a good job. You just have to honor that decision of his.”

Nancy Vargas, Pickett’s English teacher at Saratoga High School, said she felt a mixture of sadness and pride about her former student’s death.

“If you didn’t like Tyler, well, you just didn’t like people,” Vargas said. “He left his footprints all over this valley and all over our hearts.”

U.S. Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., also attended the event. Barrasso said he’d never met the fallen soldier, but “just in visiting with both his wife and his mother today, I know the great love that he had for this state.”

The Platte Valley community did much of the organizing for Monday’s memorial service, said Sheri Peterson, Tyler Pickett’s mother.

“Tyler’s military motto is deeds not words,” she said. “That motto would be appropriate for the valley.”

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